Category Archives: Literature

Comparing the Great Books of the Western World to the Harvard Classics (Part II): Assessing the Fiction Selections

For all that I took the Harvard Classics to the woodshed in the first part of this series, the Great Books of the Western World shall get their fill in this one.  Let me preface this post by saying that I will not too strongly impose my opinions upon the two sets of books, in the sense that I will only criticize selections on the basis of what I think is within the realm of acceptability.  That is, I will criticize those selections which wouldn’t make my top 100 fiction selections, let alone my top dozen or two.  Also, I will include epics in this discussion, and keep them separate from poetry, at least for the purposes of this post. Continue reading

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Comparing the Great Books of the Western World to the Harvard Classics (Part I): General Observations and Remarks

(attention: Please note that there are about a dozen works (a few more so in the Harvard Classics than the Great Books of the Western World) within each collection that I have not read, and I will do my best to note which those are.  There are a few works, like Summa Theologica, of which I have read a portion through abridged editions or numerous excerpts, but I do feel competent, even in such a partial reading of these few texts, to comment upon their having been selected.  Additionally, I have only read half of the books in the Gateway to the Great Books collections, and the same is true of the Harvard Classics’ shelf of fiction.  Therefore, I will not comment on either of these.) Continue reading

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Filed under Great Books and Harvard Classics Series, Literature